work out

Tune Your Body

Our body is designed to move. A complex scaffolding of muscles and bones allows us to achieve remarkable feats of coordination and balance.

Our sedentary lifestyles have made modern life much more comfortable, but our bodies have become sluggish and lazy.

Regular exercise has multiple benefits. It strengthens muscles and bones, keeps the joints flexible, reduces fat deposits, stimulates the brain, and reinforces the immune system to protect the entire body against diseases and the effects of aging on a long term basis.

Due to it’s many positive effects, regular exercise is the true fountain of youth. Studies show that middle-aged people who have never exercised on a regular basis appear up to 20 years older physiologically than their active peers.

Exercise is fun, free and offers an array of benefits. Some forms of exercise like stretching, yoga and Pilates increase flexibility. Others, like weight training, build healthy bones and joints and improves muscle strength. Aerobic exercise like brisk walking, jumping rope, running and dancing increase endurance by helping the heart work more efficiently.

Tune your body as you would a fine instrument and see how far it takes you.

These words were taken from an informational poster at Boston’s Quincy Market where the exhibit Body World’s Vital is currently on display. I had the pleasure to view the exhibit on a recent visit to Boston with a friend. The bodies on display are real people who gave their consent to use their bodies so others may learn more about our functions. The bodies are preserved using a process called plastination, by which the fluids in the body are replaced with plastics such as silicone rubber, polymers and resins to then permanently preserve these specimens. The skin is removed and the muscles, tendons, bones and organs are revealed. It was amazing to see how our muscles are attached to ligaments, attached to bones. The human body is an amazing machine.

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Besides exercise, your body needs the proper fuel. Eat a well balanced diet that consists of an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins. Drink plenty of water and limit dairy to two servings a day. Use healthy oils like olive oil or canola oil and avoid trans fat. A proper diet will give you all the energy you need to get out and move your body.

Take care of your body! It’s the only place you have to live!

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100 + Mile Week, Kids and Fitness and Beets!

I have so much to talk about this week! Spring cycling is just about in full swing. My bicycle and I spent quality time together four times this past week and for the first time this year I rode over 100 miles in a week.  With late afternoon temperatures high enough to allow for it, I logged 20.5 miles Thursday and 19 miles Friday. To bring the total way up my husband and I cycled together Saturday for 35.5 miles and today’s total was 30! Total for the week, 105 miles! My bike-a-thon, The Pan Mass Challenge is three months away and one of my goals is to ride 1,800 miles prior to the event.

I didn’t blog last week because I was busy hanging out with my daughters, son-in-law and grandson. We did a 5K together last Sunday; a charity event raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer. My three-year-old grandson tagged along in his red wagon with Mommy getting a monster work out on the hills! He’s not quite old enough to participate on his own legs. I did notice he watched intently when kids, not much older than himself, ran by. Maybe next year!  He really loves playing outdoors and at his age, that’s how kids get their exercise. I feel it’s really important to start them young. Sure it may be easier to keep them in. Parents have so many obligations and it’s not always easy to carve out time to get outdoors with the kids. I commend my daughter and son-in-law for making the time. He plays ball, rides a scooter, goes to the playground and they participate in so many activities with him that he is getting exercise, whether he realizes  it or not. It’s important to start good habits at an early age. Childhood obesity is a growing problem. With so much entertainment available indoors, kids don’t get out and play now as previous generations did. It’s resulting in heavier kids, childhood diabetes and other health problems. Encourage your kids to get out and play!

jr on the run

My grandson on the run at the zoo

I thought I hated beets. My parents made me eat them as a child and I didn’t like them. As an adult I never tried them again, until recently. I’ve found that many of the vegetables I didn’t like as a child, appeal to me now. I looked to my favorite online recipe website to see if I could find a recipe that appealed to me, and I did. I made this tonight and have plenty to take with my lunch this week.

Garlicky Beet Delight

6 medium beets

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves minced garlic

salt to taste

Remove beet greens, wash the beets and boil until tender (about 30 minutes) Remove the skins by running cold water over the boiled beets , then slipping their skins off. Slice the beets and toss with the olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt.

Delicious!

Six health benefits of beets

  1. Beets are natures Viagra. Yup, that’s right! Beets contain high amounts of boron, which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones.
  2. Beets are high in potassium, magnesium, fiber,iron,  phosphorus, vitamins A, B & C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. They can help lower your blood pressure, fight inflammation and cancer.
  3. Beets cleanse the body. They are a tonic for the liver and purifies the blood.
  4. Beets help your mental health. They contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments depression. It also contains tyrtophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well being.
  5. Beets are a stomach acid tester. If you’re eating a lot of beets and you pee pink, you have low stomach acid.
  6. Beets are a high source of energy. At the same time they’re low in calories and high in sugar (the sugar is released into your system gradually) Beets are very beneficial in this regard.

My fundraising for the Pan Mass Challenge is going well. With three months to go I’ve already raised $1,800! I’m committed to raise $4,300. My goal is $10,000.  One hundred percent on the rider raised funds go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The money is used for cancer care and research. With over 5,000 riders participating, our aim is to raise 40M. This link will take you to my fundraising page where you can donate with a credit card http://www2.pmc.org/profile/JS0126. You can also “Text to give to my ride” by texting PMC JS0126 to 20222 to donate $10 to my ride. You must reply “Yes” to the confirmation text message. You can do this up to 5 times from the same phone and the donation will appear on your cell phone bill.

Let's go

Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!

How Can I Keep my Cholesterol Low?

I rode my bicycle both Saturday and Sunday for a total of 62 miles! Saturday was a 34 mile ride of challenging hills. My legs were tired at the end! They recovered for a 28 mile ride around the reservoir on Sunday. It is our favorite route and will do that one most Sundays. 

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Sunday around the reservoir

Monday brought warm enough temperatures but a very strong wind. I’d considered a ride after work but the thought of that headwind changed my mind. I opted for a 7 mile walk instead. I’ll get my miles in one way or another!

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Monday walk

I’ve been asked by a friend to do a blog on cholesterol. Considering her 60th birthday is a mere month away, she should be concerned (heehee…sorry Joanne)! I say that in jest but the truth hurts because I’m not far behind! Cholesterol builds up in your blood stream over a long period of time. Poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle as well as family history can all contribute to a rise in your low-density lipoprotein, LDL, or bad cholesterol. So how to lower it?

Diet plays a key role in lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. Here are four foods that, when eaten on a regular basis, will help keep those levels down.

  1. Oatmeal – contains soluble fiber, which reduces your bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber per day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6 grams of fiber. If you add fruit, such as bananas, you’ll add about 4 more grams of fiber.
  2. Fish and Omega 3 fatty acids – eating fatty fish can be good for your heart because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These can reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil – Omega 3’s, reduces the risk of sudden death. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week. The highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids are in mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon and halibut. I’ll add that flax seeds have small amounts of Omega-3s. I add these to a smoothie. Recipe to follow.
  3. Not a fish fan? How about nuts? Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acid and also help keep blood vessels healthy. 
  4. Olive oil – olive oil contains a mix of antioxidants that can lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol but leave your good (HDL) cholesterol untouched. To add olive oil to your diet, you can saute vegetables in it, add it to a marinade or mix it with vinegar as a salad dressing. You can also use olive oil as a substitute for butter when basting meat or as a dip for bread. Olive oil is high in calories, so don’t eat more than the recommended amount. Two tablespoons a day will do it!
  5. EXERCISE! Being overweight tends to increase the amount of LDL in your blood. Thirty minutes 3-5 times a week is beneficial to lowering LDL cholesterol. 

My cholesterol level has never been high and my goal is to keep it that way. I’ve recently added flax seed to my diet.One tablespoon has 1.8 grams of Omega 3s. I tried eating them plain but they’re rather small and somewhat sticky and I found I was picking them out of my teeth. Eeww. Now I put about a tablespoon in a smoothie. You can’t even taste them. I make this smoothie after working out and while I’m cooking supper. I’m hungry after my workout and this keeps me from picking. 

  • 1/2 cup plain non fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 frozen mixed strawberries and blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp flax seed

Blend for a few minutes to ensure the frozen fruit is completely pureed. This smoothie also provides 35% of the RDA of calcium, 24% RDA of protein and only 180 calories. A fitting reward after my 7 mile walk!

As the days get warmer and longer and I’m able to spend more time on my bicycle, my mind goes more and more to the first weekend in August when I’ll ride for the 11th time in the annual Pan Massachusetts Challenge. This 192 mile bike-a-thon raises millions of dollars every year for cancer care and research at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. One hundred percent of the money raised by riders goes to Dana Farber’s Jimmy Fund. My goal this year is to raise $10,000. Would you consider sponsoring me with a donation? I’ve already raise $1,500 and I haven’t even sent out one letter! You can learn more about the PMC here http://www.pmc.org. If you’d like to consider sponsoring  me you can do so at www2.pmc.org/profile/JS0126. You can also text to give by texting JS0126 to 20222. If you’d like to send me an old fashioned check send me a message and I’ll provide my address.

Thanks for reading my blog!

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